FirstFT: Microsoft and Alphabet results show signs of resilience

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Results from Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft yesterday fueled hopes on Wall Street that Big Tech is proving more resilient than recent concerns might suggest.

Revenue from Microsoft’s cloud division rose 16 percent in the first three months of 2023, a faster-than-expected rate that allayed fears of a sharp slowdown in spending from its corporate clients following the boom in cloud computing. digital services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Google’s search advertising business also beat forecasts and returned to growth, with revenue up 2 percent in the quarter after a 2 percent drop in the final three months of last year.

The largest US tech companies were expected to produce little if any growth due to difficult comparisons with the strong start they made to 2022 and a slowdown in spending that has hit many parts of their businesses. .

The better-than-expected performance lifted shares of Microsoft and Alphabet yesterday and boosted rivals due to the earnings release this week, including Facebook parent company Meta, which reports today.

This is what else is happening today:

  • Results: Report from Boeing, Danone, eBay, GSK, Heathrow, Hilton, Michelin and Standard Chartered. Check out our Week Ahead newsletter for the full list. Also, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Kimberly-Clark, among the companies that reported resilient quarterly sales despite price increases. Read the story here

  • Agreement between Microsoft and Activision: The UK Competition and Markets Authority will publish its final report on the $69 billion acquisition.

  • General Motors and Samsung SDI: A $3 billion plan for a new US battery plant signals the dominance of South Korean companies in the North American electric vehicle battery supply chain, taking on Chinese rivals.

Five more main stories

1. Biden’s re-election bid: The US president has dispelled rumors that he will trade his running mate, despite Kamala Harris’ low approval ratings as vice president. Read our analysis of Joe Biden’s high-stakes election gamble.

2. Actions of the First Republic it fell further on Tuesday as regulators in Washington and financiers on Wall Street scrambled to come up with a plan to stabilize the ailing bank. Read more here.

3. Exclusive: Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge is under pressure from shareholders over a $100 million salary deal that has been criticized as “excessive.” This comes before the company’s annual meeting next month. Read the story here.

4. A top executive left Citigroup days after a report that he had met with Jeffrey Epstein on several occasions while working at JPMorgan Chase. In response to a query from the Financial Times, Citi confirmed that Paul Barrett, head of the North American private equity group at her private bank, was no longer employed by the company.

5. Exclusive: Tencent is increasing foreign investment in gaming assets with a focus on Europe, looking to diversify outside of China even as Beijing lifts severe restrictions on the industry. Read the full story.

the great read

Montage of Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin and his family

© FT Montage/Molfar/Bloomberg/Reuters

From a St. Petersburg grandmother with her own art gallery to a teenager competing in international equestrian events, the members of Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin’s family have led enchanting lives. Western governments have struggled to impose costs on relatives of Wagner’s founder, even though they have been heavily involved in his business.

We are also reading. . .

  • Joint US-Philippines military exercise sinks ship in South China Sea: The rare maneuver is a clear sign of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s hopes to repel Chinese invasion in disputed waters and revive a military alliance with the United States.

  • The US auto industry plans to go electric: Ford and General Motors are among those that have laid out multi-billion dollar plans to sell only electric vehicles in the next 20 years. Read the forecast from the International Energy Agency.
    Related: Japan’s automakers are caught in the middle as tensions between Washington and Beijing add to concerns about growing Chinese competition in the world’s biggest auto market.

chart of the day

China already has a powerful economy, an important role in world trade and a huge army, writes Martin Wolf. Its relationship with the US is likely to determine the fate of humanity in the 21st century, whether there is peace, prosperity and environmental protection, or the opposite.

Bar chart of export shares of selected G20 countries to the US and China, 2022 (%) showing For many countries, China is a very important trading partner

Take a break from the news

© Leon Edler

How does a Scottish-born socialist price his Napa Cabernet? DuMOL owner Andy Smith juggles philosophy with the incredible fame of his Sonoma Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, writes wine columnist Jancis Robinson.

Additional contributions by Tee Zhuo, Gordon Smith, and Emily Goldberg

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